Yorkshire v Middlesex, Scarborough, 1st day

Could England nab Lyth too?

Jon Culley at North Marine Road

July 19, 2014

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

Yorkshire 211 for 6 (Lyth 117) v Middlesex

Adam Lyth punches off the back foot on the way to a morning half-century, Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire, County Championship, Division One, Headingley, 1st day, August, 21, 2013
Adam Lyth's stellar Championship could gain the selectors' interest © Getty Images

In the interests of their title challenge, the last thing Yorkshire want is to have the England selectors asking too many questions about Adam Lyth but it may be difficult to keep them off the scent given his consistent excellence this season.

Five first-class hundreds, four in the Championship; 1,134 first-class runs, 1,004 in the Championship (the first to do so in Division One): the numbers are impressive, as is the way in which he is making them, with an enhanced sense of care and responsibility.

Already deprived of three players - Joe Root, Gary Ballance and Liam Plunkett - even with Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan out of favour, you would imagine Andrew Gale might want to play down the credentials of another but the Yorkshire captain is inclined to do the opposite. After Lyth's 230 against Northamptonshire at the beginning of June, he boldly claimed that "compared with all the Yorkshire lads who have played for England recently, he has the most ability."

The selectors do not appear yet to be quite so keen. Since his 1,500 runs in the 2010 season earned him a trip to the Caribbean with an England Lions side managed by the recently appointed England selector Mick Newell he has not had a look-on. This is his best year subsequently - it may turn out even better - and there is no doubt he has moved to a different level.

He has scored 50 runs or more in more than half of his 17 Championship innings so far, the consistent theme of which has been his willingness, when the situation demands it, to be a patient accumulator. He remains a lovely batsman to watch, particularly when driving on the off, but he has become much more willing to bide his time, less inclined to follow his attacking instincts and nick off early. He has worked hard to eliminate vulnerabilities in his game and it is paying off handsomely.

As Yorkshire transferred operations to Scarborough, just along the coast from Lyth's home town of Whitby, he demonstrated again that he has acquired an ability to stick around even in difficult conditions, making a grafted 117 that acquired even more value as Middlesex fought back late in the day.

Lyth has half an eye on Cook's form

  • Adam Lyth insisted his mind was fixed on scoring runs for Yorkshire rather than any impression he might have made on the England selectors with his form this season but acknowledged after making his hundred at Scarborough that there is one England opener not in the best of nick.
  • He believes, too, that he is a much better batsman than he was in 2010, when 1,500 runs in the domestic season earned him a winter with England Lions.

  • "It is not really in the back of my mind but obviously Alastair Cook is struggling for a bit of form," Lyth said. "But all I can do is keep scoring runs. If I did get the call then obviously I'd be pleased. I will try to keep scoring runs for Yorkshire, helping us to win games and if the call came I'd be over the moon.

  • "I feel this is the best I am hitting the ball in my career so far. My technique is a lot better than it was in 2010 and I'm very pleased with the way it is going.

  • "I'm leaving the ball a hell of a lot better than the last couple of years. I've not really chased much outside off stump, although I did chase one on 99 to get to a hundred and had a bit of luck but I deserved that, I think."

There were a few streaky moments, although nothing that constituted a chance until he had made 75, when he skewed a ball from Toby Roland-Jones that Eoin Morgan should have taken at gully. Lyth took in his moment of good fortune but then stomped away on to the adjoining pitch, swishing his bat angrily. He values his wicket highly now. He completed his hundred, too, with not his best shot, edging a ball from Steven Finn to the third man boundary for four.

There was plenty in this pitch, which had bounce and carry and a good covering of grass and the atmosphere remained humid after overnight rain. Had Middlesex bowled a little fuller in the morning session, the day might have unfolded differently.

As it was, their only success before lunch came when Roland-Jones produced a fine ball to remove Alex Lees, one that was pitched up and moved away late to take the edge as the batsman tried to defend.

Rain hastened an early interval, after which Finn, unlucky against Lees earlier, gained his reward when Kane Williamson, back with Yorkshire to resume in Aaron Finch's place as overseas player, was bowled by one that swung back.

It was after a second, longer stoppage in the afternoon, setting up a final session that would have extended to almost 45 overs but for bad light, that Middlesex began to gain rewards for deciding to bowl first, encouraging them to think that, notwithstanding Lyth's runs, they had done rather well.

Finn claimed a second success - his 42nd of the season - when Gale cut straight to Rogers at point for 30, then 20-year-old Tom Helm, preferred to James Harris as fourth seamer with the latter going back to Glamorgan on loan, ended a torrid 42-ball innings from Bairstow by bowling the deposed England wicketkeeper for 5.

With the ball doing plenty and batsmen perhaps struggling in the fading light, Roland-Jones bowled Jack Leaning with another full length ball before Helm made one bounce to end Lyth's wonderful knock - his first Championship hundred on the ground of his cricket upbringing - via a catch off the shoulder of the bat, taken at second slip.

RSS Feeds: Jon Culley

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by android_user on (July 20, 2014, 19:15 GMT)

I completely disagree...the aussies got the best team on the pitch, not the best 11 in terms of form and that is what England need to do. Cook is a key component in this team. it's far from nonsense. The aussies biggest problem was actually what you are suggesting...chopping and changing because certain players were in better form than others...Haddin wasn't seen as the form keeper but he was the best for the team

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (July 20, 2014, 14:59 GMT)

@leeappleton, nonsense. The selectors absolutely must select the team on form. Like Australia did with a 5-0 result.

Posted by Howardian on (July 20, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

As a Yorkshire fan I'm desperate for Cook to recover his form! That Yorkshire are challenging without Ballance, Root or Plunkett is testament to the strength in depth at Headingley but I can't see where a replacement for Lyth would come from.

Posted by android_user on (July 20, 2014, 6:55 GMT)

Lyth must continue performing and wait for his chance. Robson was picked and now is in possession.

The worst thing for England and the players is to chop and change based on form...Cook is oir key man and english cricket needs him. While we have hundreds all down the order it takes a lot of pressure off Cook...he will turn the corner

Posted by CodandChips on (July 20, 2014, 5:58 GMT)

Drop Cook and bring in Lyth. Change captain to whoever. We need runs at ten top order. This bloke deserves his chance.

Credit where credit is due to Yorkshire. Some of the players they produce, and it looks like Lees should get his time in a couple of years.

Posted by Shuraim on (July 19, 2014, 23:39 GMT)

That is it I guess. Drop Cook for a few games and give this lad a chance maybe he could be the answer England's opening problem as well as Cook might find back his form in which case he can move down to no.6 in favor of young Lyth and Moen goes out and England in balance once more. This may look a little awkward but worth a try because England got nothing to loose given Cook's current form what worst can happen. Just like England have sorted out their no.3 problem in the form of Ballance.

Posted by mtfb on (July 19, 2014, 22:19 GMT)

Bairstow fails to get his head down and graft again. Time Hodd had his chance.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
County Results
Kent v Gloucs at Canterbury - Sep 23-26, 2014
Gloucs won by 244 runs
Lancashire v Middlesex at Manchester - Sep 23-26, 2014
Match drawn
Northants v Sussex at Northampton - Sep 23-26, 2014
Match drawn
Yorkshire v Somerset at Leeds - Sep 23-26, 2014
Match drawn
Derbyshire v Leics at Derby - Sep 23-25, 2014
Derbyshire won by 408 runs
Essex v Worcs at Chelmsford - Sep 23-25, 2014
Essex won by an innings and 92 runs
Glamorgan v Hampshire at Cardiff - Sep 23-25, 2014
Hampshire won by 291 runs
Warwickshire v Durham at Birmingham - Sep 23-25, 2014
Warwickshire won by an innings and 13 runs
All recent results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days